Not a lot of hype surrounded the hiring of Ryan Meyer as the University of Dayton’s men’s and women’s tennis coach in 2012.
A 2-20 record for the men’s program in Meyer’s first season didn’t exactly spike enthusiasm.
However, Meyer, a former Franklin College men’s tennis player, had a plan and was determined to stick with it.
He sought to bring in good players, yes. But Meyer also set out to recruit young men and women who would make good grades and represent the university in a positive manner, on and off the court.
Get this accomplished and the victories would come.
Meyer came to Dayton after coaching women’s tennis at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, for three seasons. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati (2009-10) and at Franklin College (2007-2009).
“When I came in I felt the expectation wasn’t necessarily where it needed to be. It had to be a team-first environment where athletes were willing to put that (Dayton) logo ahead of themselves,” Meyer said. “It takes time, and there are a lot of bumps in the road.
“You’ve got to find kids who are going to buy into what you’re trying to sell.”
Meyer had to release some players who did not buy into the program. Yet over time came progress.
His first recruit, men’s tennis player Andy Druffel out of Nashville, Tennessee, is now a junior civil engineering major for the Flyers and a cornerstone in the gradual turnaround.
The following recruiting bonanza — “We had five players commit to us within three weeks,” Meyer said — included twins Jade and Jackie Kawamoto out of Greenwood Community High School. They are now sophomores.
Dayton’s women’s program, winners of four matches in 2014, doubled that total last season and has so far won 10 so far this season. The men bounced back from that 2-20 campaign to notch 11 victories in 2015 and holds a 12-3 record this season.
Once an Atlantic 10 afterthought, Meyer said the Flyers men should be among the favorites at next month’s conference tournament in Charlotesville, Virginia.
Last week the Flyers women’s team was honored with having the highest grade-point average (3.69) in 2015 among the 16 athletics programs at the University of Dayton.
All 10 of the players on Meyer’s roster made the dean’s list.
“It’s been a good experience,” Meyer said.
THE MEYER FILE
Name: Ryan Meyer
Born: Aurora, Indiana
Family: Wife, Ashley; daughters, Alexandra, 3, and Cameron, 7 months
High school: South Dearborn (2003)
College: Franklin College (2008)
Major: Recreation and sports management
Favorite TV show: “Modern Family”
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: “Gladiator”
Favorite athlete: Roger Federer
Favorite team: Indiana University men’s basketball